As a quadriplegic paralyzed from the neck down, I depend on my voice for multiple things which includes using today's technology to be more independent. There are many things out there that can be controlled by voice, although not everything. I've written blog posts before about Dragon NaturallySpeaking, speech recognition software that I use for my computer. The program allows me to train my voice so that it can recognize what I'm saying and identify my speech patterns. Also, I can create different commands based on things I say often or passwords that I use daily. It is how I type, search the web, write papers and blog posts, and communicate with others in different parts of the world. Dragon has given me the independence I need to have full access to my computer by use of voice. I also use voice activation to control my TV in my bedroom. Click here to read a post about Dragon NaturallySpeaking and other things I control by voice.
One thing that I've been wanting for a while, especially since the technology is out there, is to be able to run my cell phone using my voice. For the longest time I've had what many people may referred to as "ancient" cell phones. I started out a few years ago with one that just had numbers and in order to text you have to figure out which letters coordinated with which number. I never had any reason to text so it didn't matter as much. Later on, when I started texting more, I switched to a little bit more user-friendly phone that had a keyboard. My nurses and PCA's typed out all of my text messages.
Seeing all of the newest technology of smart phones develop lately had sparked my interest in trying out a new phone; one that allowed me to be more independent. Obviously I wouldn't be able to use the handy touchscreens or press buttons but many new phones have incorporated voice activation software. The two phones that intrigued me the most were the iPhone 4S and the Droid Razor. After doing a bunch of research about the two online, a week ago I went to Verizon wireless to check them out. I ended up buying an iPhone 4S because it had Siri built-in. I really like it because I can do all of my text messages by voice. It recognizes me fairly well but does have a few drawbacks.
Although it's a huge step up from my last two phones, I'm not able to just fire away commands and start dictating without someone pushing a button first. When searching online I actually couldn't find a cell phone that is completely voice-activated. However, I've really enjoyed being able to ask Siri to schedule appointments, set reminders, send text messages, and see what the weather's like. It's given me another level of independence that I didn't have before.
If you have any suggestions about other speech recognition/voice-activated products you think I'd be interested please let me know!